Forgiveness is the final form of love – Chapter 6 – Silence is my answer

A/N: This will be the last chapter of Forgiveness is the Final Form of Love. I have enjoyed writing this story, although it didn't turn out completely as I expected, but what ever does really? Each chapter has taken a lot of time, I am aware, but I'm thankful for every person who has taken the time to find them, read them and like them!

I hope you like this last chapter!

Pete brushed past me without a word and sat down on the couch in the livingroom, his face set in stone and his jaw tense as he stared aimlessly into the wall next to me.

It was stupid. Telling him.

I knew that, but still I couldn't help feeling like I had done nothing wrong. Tommy Hatcher might be an insane bastard but he was still my dad and a part of me.

I didn't say anything, a part of me feeling like I didn't deserve to, just waited for him to break the silence.

After a few moments he broke his staring at the wall and turned his blue eyes to me, the ice they sent through my body was enough to cause me to shiver.

"Who knows?" His voice, firm and chilling, sparked a tinge of fear inside of me but I did my best to keep it hidden.

"I came to your brother for help two months ago so he knows, Terry knew me from his time in the firm and then there's Bovver... He recognized me the moment he saw me." I explained but by the time I mentioned Bovver Pete couldn't sit still any more and started pacing.

"So why didn't he tell me about you?" His voice was angry now, accusing, and I really didn't like it.

"He would have." I answered, my voice low and slightly shaking. "He told me if I caused trouble then he would tell and get me kicked out..."

"Why did you lie to me?!" Pete suddenly yelled causing me to flinch.

"Technically, I never lied to you about my family. You never asked." I countered.

"Had I asked would you have told me the truth?"

Looking into those dangerous blue eyes I wanted so badly to tell him what he wanted to hear... But I couldn't lie to him any more.

"No, I wouldn't have."

At my response his demeanour changed for the worse. He straightened up, his entire body tensed and the look in his eyes was that of complete and utter disgust.

"Get out."

I felt the lump in my throat grow to an uncomfortable size as I nodded silently and grabbed my jacket laying on the floor before leaving the apartment, my tears mixing with the pouring rain as I didn't know where I was headed any more.

*I'm forever blowing bubbles, pretty bubbles in the air*

"You don't have to leave, Bells." Bov stood in the doorway, attempting to block my way as I restlessly walked between the bedroom and the livingroom to throw whatever things of mine I could find into my bag.

"Yes, I do, Bovver." I sighed as I pushed my way past him to throw a pair of jeans into the green suitcase. "I can't stay here. I just can't."

"Bella, just stop for a second. Please." A gentle hold on my arms actually made me stop but looking into his eyes brought tears to mine. "Where will you go, huh? Back to your ol' man?"

"I don't know..." A tear rolled down my face and he pulled me into a tight embrace, sharing some of his warmth. "I don't know but I guess I could look for my mum. She left after Tommy died, I haven't heard from her since then."

I pulled away from the safety of Bov's arms and wiped my tears with the sleeve of my hoodie. That's what I would do. I would look for my mum, live with her and put the last 10 years behind me.

"Are you sure you're not just running away?"

I was running away. I realized that.

I had been through too much for a girl my age and yet I had never ran away on my own free will.

But this was it.

I just couldn't take it any more. I missed my mum so much it hurt and just the thought of seeing her again was the one thing that kept me together right now.

With all my things packed there was just two things left to do.

Saying goodbye to Steve was worse than I expected it to be, and telling Ben that I wasn't going to be around any more just broke my heart. He'd lost his mum to cancer two years earlier and now I was leaving, the girl he'd come to see as a sort of aunt.

But the most difficult thing was walking into 'The Abbey', knowing that it would be the last time I ever set foot there. Knowing that it would be the last time I saw my boys laughing and drinking, having the time of their life.

Trying to keep a low profile I walked behind the bar with my hood pulled up, covering my eyes and said my goodbye to Terry. If I hadn't been tearing up myself I might have been able to notice my boss' eyes turn watery and the tear rolling down his clean-shaven cheeks.

I was going to miss him, he was like the father I never got to see any more. Loving, caring and protective of me. Someone who loved me and would do anything to keep me safe.

My cell-phone suddenly started ringing and my boys in the corner all turned their heads toward me at the sound of the familiar ringtone.

Quickly picking up my suitcase I went outside and answered my phone just as I was heading away from the lot, to the nearest tube-station not aware that the guys had taken notice of my suitcase and had followed me outside.

"Bov, I'm not gonna change my mind..." I started but was interrupted by a female.

"I'm sorry, is this Isabella Hatcher speaking?"

"Yes, this is she." I placed my suitcase on the ground next to me, feeling my heart sink in my chest.

The boys had now reached me but saw the expression on my face and thankfully they stayed quiet while I spoke.

"I am calling from St. Richard's Hospital, we have a patient here by the name of Irene Hatcher and you are listed as her next of kin."

I felt my world start to crumble around me. What was my mum doing at the hospital...

"Y.. Yes." I managed to stutter. "Irene Hatcher is my mother, what happened to her?"

If I saw the questioning glances on the boys' faces I didn't acknowledge them.

"She was in a car crash tonight." The woman answered, her voice soft yet professional. "I'm afraid that her condition is critical."

I felt the colour drain from my face.

"Well, is she going to make it?" I was on the verge of falling apart now.

"You should probably hurry, she doesn't have much time left." Was the response I got and I felt the tears falling one by one until I was sure the rain had started falling again.

*They fly so high, they reach the sky. And like my dreams they fade and die*

Seeing her for the first time in 10 years was not like I had expected it to be.

I had imagined me standing by her front door, her taking a long good look at me before realizing who I was and then she'd engulf me in one of her bear hugs. She'd have kissed my hair with the tears running down her rosy cheeks and told me how much she loved me.

Standing by her hospital bed that dream seemed a million miles away.

She was skinnier than I remembered her, her hair that I remembered as golden brown had faded into grey, her green eyes were closed and she was dressed in a hospital gown.

She was on a morphine-drip, the doctors way of trying to ease her suffering, and there were tubes attached to her that did god knows what to keep her alive.

She looked so fragile, like the feeling you get when you see a baby bird for the first time, like even the softest touch would break her.

Tryingly she opened her eyes, and slowly looked around the room.

The moment her gaze landed on me I knew she recognized me, there was the smallest hint of a smile on her lips as she opened her mouth to speak to me.

Her voice was hoarse and older than I remembered it and yet the sound of it made me smile.

"Isabella." I sat down next to her, looking at her with tears in my eyes. "You're even more beautiful than I had imagine." She reached out a weak hand to wipe away the tear that fell from my eye.

"I missed you, mum." I whispered, my voice breaking.

"I missed you too, sweetheart." She took my hand and held it, stroking her thumb across my skin just like I remembered her doing when I was a child.

Hearing footsteps I looked towards the door and with the tears running down my cheeks I saw my dad. Standing in the doorway, out of breath and with tears shining in his grey eyes.

Slowly he walked up to us, hesitantly he sat down next to me, as if unsure he should be there at all.

"You look good, Tommy." His wife smiled softly at him and the tears fell from his eyes as he grasped her hand and kissed it.

"You look beautiful, Rena." He smiled a gentle smile.

"You know you're the only one who ever called me that." She laughed almost inaudibly with a tired smile on her face. "It made me feel special."

"You are special, Rena." I looked at my dad, we were both crying now and I can't I have ever seen him look so guilty. "I'm so sorry about what I did to you." He turned to look at me. "To the both of you. I have been a terrible husband and an even worse dad."

I placed a hand on top of his and my mother's, squeezing it tightly.

"I never thought the day would come when I could see you again and apologize for everything I've put you through. I'm sorry, Rena. I'm so sorry." He buried his face in our hands, weeping in anguish at the thought of losing the love of his life forever.

"Shhh..." My mother shushed, bringing him to face her. "I forgive you, Tommy. You need to know that."

"I love you, Rena." He whispered and I had to look away, feeling myself beginning to crack.

"And I love you, the both of you, so much..."

"Remember that..."

Those were the last words my mother ever spoke in this world.

She fell asleep in that hospital bed and never woke up again.

A few weeks later we buried her next to Tommy, with a simple grey headstone to mark it.

It said:

Here rests a family, all equally loved and cherished.

"Forgiveness is the final form of love" - Reinhold Niebuhr.

After my mother's death my father cut his ties with the NTO and we moved to a quiet place outside the city. I got a job at the local library and he worked in a garage until he retired.

Every week we went to visit our family and when my dad died many years later I laid him next to his wife, the woman he had never stopped loving even after she had passed.

As for the GSE I never went back to 'The Abbey'. Too many memories that I couldn't handle.

Steve and Ben came to visit me often though, even after I'd gotten married and had children of my own.

Terry, Dave and Bovver were faithful visitors as well, checking up on me every now and again to make sure that my husband treated me like the queen they thought I was.

I never heard from Pete again. I couldn't deal with facing him and he never contacted me, but I never forgot him.

Not even on my death bed at the age of 91 years old had I forgotten my first love.

And I could only hope he never forgot about me.

A/N: I hope this story has lived up, at least somewhat, to your expectations. Thank you all for sticking with me and for reading this! You are the best!